Property Size: 55,000 acres
Nokuse Plantation, a privately owned nature preserve that began in 2001 and is located in Walton County, Florida. It has grown into a 55,000-acre private conservation initiative in the Florida Panhandle.
Nokuse Plantation and the Nokuse Education Center (E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center) have received major support from SSF in the past. Education programs focus on 5th and 7th grade students, and the curriculum is designed to invigorate a younger generations’ interest in nature while immersing them in natural settings. Nokuse is designed to be both a model and a catalyst for future landscape level conservation projects, which is the only way to preserve nature’s intrinsic biodiversity.
Nokuse Plantation has grown into a 55,000 acre private conservation initiative in the Florida Panhandle. M.C. Davis (1944-2015) and Sam (1933-2019) conceptualized the idea of Nokuse during the early 2000’s, M.C. purchased the first tract, 37,000 acres, in 2002 and hired Matt Aresco to be the Director of Nokuse Plantation Nokuse secured a historic easement during late 2020 that protects all of the 55,000 acres in perpetuity. These conservation easements connect Nokuse Plantation to Eglin Air Force Base reservation and Blackwater River State Park to the west and Choctawhatchee Wildlife Management Area to the east to create a contiguous forest area. Nokuse Plantation and the connected lands have some of the greatest biodiversity of land in the United States.
SSF has provided significant support for Nokuse education efforts (construction of E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center) and land acquisitions. E.O.Wilson Education Center has The Sam & Betty Shine Theater used to educate thousands of middle school students each year. Sam frequently spoke about Nokuse and wanted to complete something similar to Nokuse Plantation & education efforts in the midwest.